After all the chatter and anticipation surrounding Top Rank’s newest pinoy slugger, San Diego’s [by way of Cebu, Philippines] Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (22-0-1, 12KOs), the 23-year-old southpaw sensation delivered, flooring 31-year-old Jorge “El Tigre” Pimentel (23-12, 17KOs), of Sonora, Mexico, once in each round en-route to an explosive 3rd round TKO for his fans, family, friends and most importantly, Bob Arum’s viewing pleasure.
Mercito received rave reviews in his scheduled 8 round tilt that was on the under card of the Brandon Rios-Urbano Antillon championship tussle at the Home Depot Center from Carson, Calif., as the Filipino young gun and “El Tigre” boxed under the blazing sun.
Mercito’s debut could not have been scripted any better considering he went in there and did exactly what was expected of him. Pimentel is a tough journeyman who replaced former world title challenger Francisco Lorenzo when Lorenzo ran into visa issues. Some people took umbrage with the choice of opponent for Mercito’s debut under Top Rank but that was not of Gesta’s concern. “No Mercy’s” only job was to beat who the Bob Arum brain trust put in front of him and he did just that destroying “El Tigre.”
“Sometimes we have to pull the reigns in on Mercito because he’s getting better and better. But we know Top Rank will keep us busy, they’re talking about a fight six weeks from now and maybe even on the Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto rematch card early in December. You don’t hurry a kid Mercito’s age, you let his performance set the schedule,” relayed Mercito’s trainer and co-manager Vince Parra.
Gesta systematically broke down Pimentel with controlled aggression. He threw powerful punches in a judicious and precise manner displaying his poise as a fighter.
In the first frame Gesta came forward jabbing and looking to measure his foe as Pimentel landed a few body shots and right hands up top while on the move. Gesta took his time and boxed because he wanted to display all of his weapons and get a few rounds in. He also didn’t move his head much in the first round which made it possible for Pimentel to land those right hands.
“I did that on purpose. Maybe I could blow him out in the first round but I wanted to show different looks, including my uppercuts which hurt him and I wanted to confuse him with my movement. I was picking my shots and didn’t waste any punches,” Gesta said moments after the bout.
Gesta’s attack consisted of straight lefts to the head and mid-section, right hooks and uppercuts as he tried to get his timing down, which took him a couple minutes allowing Pimentel to catch him with a few more right hands up top but the Pinoy walked right through them and kept stalking.
Towards the end of the opening round, Mercito got his timing down and landed a couple right hooks, a right uppercut and a nice straight left to the mouth. With :30 seconds to go in period one, Gesta backed Pimentel into the corner and clipped him with a right-hook uppercut hybrid that put “El Tigre” on the canvas. Gesta unleashed some nice combinations once Pimentel rose but the Mexican was able to block or evade most of them.
Gesta was throwing lightning quick combinations to start the 2nd round and Pimentel got into a couple exchanges that Gesta got the better of. A minute in, Mercito threw a flurry of stout rights and lefts to the torso that connected and followed it up with a crisp counter right hook to Jorge’s jaw. Gesta was exuding confidence as he walked down “El Tigre,” using good waist movement while showing different angles of attack.
At :42 seconds of round two, “No Mercy” blasted Jorge with a booming right uppercut that snapped back the Mexican’s head and put him on one knee. As in the first round, Pimentel made it through to the end of the period but this time he was definitely hurt.
Pimentel was landing punches, having a little bit of success with his right hand up top and blows to the body. The problem was none of Jorge’s strikes had any affect and he couldn’t get Mercito to take a backwards step. In the 3rd stanza, Mercito displayed some speed unleashing a dizzying ten punch combination that had Jorge back on his heels and into the corner where the San Diego pugilist touched him with some thudding body shots.
With :38 seconds to go in the 3rd, Gesta had Pimentel in the corner and delivered the coup de grace, a quick right uppercut, straight left combination that crumbled Jorge to the canvas for the third time and Raul Caiz Jr., had seen enough, immediately stopping the bout and saving the outmatched Pimentel from more punishment.
“Man I am so excited now that I won my first fight [with Top Rank]. I know my opponent isn’t really big caliber at my weight but I respect him and I’m so happy. They showed it [the fight] in the Philippines so everybody got to see it, I am so excited right now,” said Mercito in the post fight interview. He added, “I want to make my own name in the Philippines and if they give me a bigger opponent next, maybe a world title, I’m going to make sure I am ready.”
“We’re going to keep him busy because he is a young fighter, but I would like before the end of the year to have him fight for a world title,” said Top Rank boss Bob Arum, adding, “I really believe this kid, I don’t want to be too ethnic but he is the next Manny Pacquiao.”
When asked about Arum’s comments Mercito replied, “It feels so good, it makes me want to train harder, push more and fight again.”